An Introduction to the book- Veer Savarkar- A Concise Biography.
Veer Savarkar -A concise biography published by Samvit Prakashan is a very insightful read into the life, times and the enigma called Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. In under 120 pages, the Author- Dr Arvind Godbole beautifully summarises the entire life, trials, tribulations and the contribution of Veer Savarkar to our Nation. Originally it was written in Maraṭhi titled – ‘Ase Aahet Savarkar’ which loosely translates into ‘Such is Savarkar.’ The translation into English was done by Dr Shreerang Godbole and Rajaram Aatre. Dr Arvind Godbole, the author of the book was a Mumbai based physician, medical professor and a prolific writer who authored 18 books-9 on Medicine and the rest on Life of Savarkar, Hindutva, The History of Sikh Gurus, The philosophy of Shri Guru Granth Sahib etcetera. The book contains several anecdotes that reveal the often forgotten human side of Savarkar. This stems primarily from the Author’s close association with Savarkar as he was Savarkar’s personal physician.
The fitting dedication of the book is itself a testimony to the content of the book. Dr Arvind dedicates this book to Veer Savarkar’s eldest son Prabhakar who passed away while he was just a little over 4 years. Veer Savarkar was at that time residing in London away from Mai Savarkar, his wife. Savarkar writes a poem in memorial of his late son titled ‘Prabhkaras’ meaning ‘ To Prabhakar’ and dedicates the Book on History of Sikhs to him so that Prabhakar continues to live in the literary temple of Veer Savarkar. But alas the manuscript got burnt during the freedom struggle and Veer Savarkar laments that Prabhakar couldn’t even survive in the Literary temple. This book is dedicated to all ṭhose who bore the brunt for being related to Patriots such as Savarkar.
The book is broadly divided into 11 chapters that chronologically delve into the important events in the life of Savarkar. The first two chapters deal with tracing the lineage and history of Savarkar’s family and the early anti-colonial campaigns that the Savarkar brothers’ organised. The third and the fourth chapter delve deep into Savarkar’s activities in London and the Martyrdom of Madanlal Dhingra. While a few books cover this episode in detail what most of them miss is the mental trauma that Savarkar undergoes after that, which Dr Arvind Godbole covers in detail.
The subsequent two chapters showcase the traumatic phase of Savarkar’s sentencing to two life time imprisonment and his torturous jail time in Kalapani. The seventh and the eighth chapter unravel the farsightedness and the vision of Savarkar during his internment in Ratnagiri. The building of Patit Pavan mandir or the writing of ‘Essentials of Hindutva’ and his predictions on the future course of our National politics while sphere heading the Hindu Mahasabha show his unfailing vision and reading of our society and country. The next 2 chapters summarise a painful episode of Partition and how Savarkar led a solitary fight for an Undivided India.
The last chapter throws light on a fact that is seldom discussed about Savarkar – his life post-independence and his subsequent Aatmarpan in the highest tradition of Yoga. Thus this must-read concise biography offers an invaluable and fascinating insight into the life and times of the man who is so often discussed and debated but is so less studied and understood. A book of this size on Savarkar has long been an imperative need that is finally fulfilled with this publication. It’ll not only help in the wider dissemination of the ideals of Savarkar whose ideas have come to define our times but also bridge an important gap in our history that has so far been omitted.
– Abhishek Ranga